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There's too much good stuff to miss out in the books for students (back l-r) Hugh Heyman, Max Rayward, Edyn McDonald (front) Esther Barker, Lila Heyman and Zoe Rayward.

Year in review: biggest stories of July 2017

JULY 1: A MACLEAN fisherman was charged with offences relating to the "looting" of crab traps belonging to other fishermen. The charges arose from a Department of Primary Industries compliance operation from December to May that resulted in the seizure of more than 1000 illegal crab traps and nets as well as 920 crabs.

JULY 3: AFTER a long wait, the Clarence Valley is eligible for disaster assistance through the jointly funded Commonwealth-State Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements. The announcement comes three months after two significant rainfall events left Clarence Valley Council with an estimated damage bill of more than $2million.

JULY 4: IT HAS been touted as the solution to keeping the NSW commercial fishing industry viable, but Clarence Valley fishers say the end of the NSW fishing share trade program has left their future hanging by a scale.

The Department of Primary Industries has been working on the industry reform for at least four years in a bid to ensure the industry remains "robust, economically viable and sustainable".

The subsidised share trading market finished on Thursday and already some fisherman in the Clarence Valley are saying there is no way they can continue when the reforms kick in on December 1.

 

A truck flipped when its trailer left the road near Koolkhan on the Summerland Way.
A truck flipped when its trailer left the road near Koolkhan on the Summerland Way. Adam Hourigan

JULY 5: THE owner of a Chrysler 300C involved in a high-speed crash at Grafton over the weekend was presumably left questioning why she let a stranger drive her car. According to police facts, a 40-year-old somehow found himself behind the wheel about 4.10pm on Sunday and was driving at high speeds with three passengers in the car, one of whom was the owner. It was estimated he was driving up to 100km/h on Oliver St, Grafton - a residential street with a speed limit of 50km/h - when he went over a crest and smashed straight into the rear of a Toyota Prado that was turning into a driveway.

JULY 6: A SEARCH effort to find missing Yamba man Vernon Nielsen was winding down on Tuesday afternoon when police received the tragic news.

A local resident found the body of the 89-year-old in a swampy area behind his property on Couqette Close, about 150m away from the aged care home where Mr Nielsen went missing the day before.

JULY 7: DISCONTENT over a proposal to install traffic lights on Yamba's main road has fuelled a campaign in an attempt to put a stop to it.

 

Boe Gibson, Hayley Black, Melanie-Jean Wilson, Liz Weller, Tayla Hourigan and Aleesha Kearns get together to do service for the barrier luncheon
Boe Gibson, Hayley Black, Melanie-Jean Wilson, Liz Weller, Tayla Hourigan and Aleesha Kearns get together to do service for the barrier luncheon Adam Hourigan

Leading the charge is Graeme East, who this week started a Facebook group, Say No to Yamba Traffic Lights. The Yamba resident started the page after hearing the development application for a new Coles Express service station at the corner of Yamba Rd and Treelands Dr include a proposal for the installation of traffic lights.

JULY 8: SOUTH Grafton has never had a better chance to let its hair down, kick up its heels and show itself off than tomorrow at the Grafton racetrack, says CRJC boss Michael Beattie.

"South Grafton Cup Day has come into its own as a day in the racing carnival," Mr Beattie said. "It began as a race day run by the South Grafton Jockey Club and was run after Grafton Cup and Ramornie and so became a bit of an afterthought for the carnival."

JULY 10: SOUNDS of beeping cars and yells of support from passing motorists were a common theme at a peaceful protest in South Grafton on Saturday. Members of the Clarence Valley Against Coal Seam Gas Mining group gathered beside the Pacific Highway near the intersection with the Gwydir Highway to have their voices heard as part of Australia's Longest Roadside Demonstration.

JULY 11: THE Clarence Valley is experiencing growth in population and median income, though the main drivers of growth are coming from increases in rural and outer suburbs, Census 2016 figures show.

 

Winning Grafton cup jockey Josh Parr gives a salute to his win on the Grafton Cup and his grandfather.
Winning Grafton cup jockey Josh Parr gives a salute to his win on the Grafton Cup and his grandfather. Adam Hourigan

Analysis by The Daily Examiner of the figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show the median income of the valley increased by 18.49%, with a majority of that growth coming from median income increases in Glenreagh, Iluka, Yamba and Woombah.

JULY 12: GRAFTON jockey Matt McGuren was ready to step into one of the biggest races of his career, but you wouldn't have known by looking at him. McGuren was a beacon of calm ahead of the $160,000 Grafton District Services Club Ramornie Handicap (1200m) and while he might not have showed it, the race was an emotional moment for McGuren who started in only his second Ramornie feature after dreaming of a start in the listed sprint from his days as a kid working cattle on Ramornie Station.

JULY 13: Sparks were flying off the heels of Peter and Paul Snowden gelding Calanda as he blazed past the finishing post to claim Ramornie glory in race record time.

A late challenge from topweight The Monstar almost pipped the three-year-old at the post but he had just enough to hold on and win by a short head.

JULY 14: FOR years Sydney jockey Josh Parr watched as his grandfather got in the car every July bound for the Grafton racing carnival. It was a family tradition, one that 20 years later finally brought the young jockey back to Grafton to leave with all the glory when he won the $160,000 McKimms Real Estate Grafton Cup by a short neck on board favourite Supply and Demand.

JULY 15: A DEAD humpback whale was discovered washed up on Sandon Beach on Thursday. National Parks and Wildlife Service's Lawrence Orel said the 2.5m humpback whale calf was found about 3km north of the camping ground at Sandon and there was no obvious cause of death.

"It's possible that it's just natural attrition, and that's not unexpected given there's around 30,000 humpback whales passing north along the coast on their annual migration at the moment," Mr Orel said.

JULY 17: THE shipwreck of the HMAS Waree has been stuck off the Iluka coast for 71 years, but a plaque to commemorate it has only lasted a matter of weeks, thanks to an act of vandalism last week.

For Iluka Museum co-ordinator Janet Hauser, it was hard to put into words how she felt on discovering the plaque missing.

JULY 18: THE Summerland Way was closed for several hours after a truck driver had a lucky escape from a rollover. The tip truck and trailer was heading north on Summerland Way at Koolkhan at 11.50am the previous day when it rounded a bend and the trailer lost traction with the road and flipped.

Sergeant Jarrad French of Coffs/Clarence police said that the unladen truck travelled some distance on its side towards the rail lines before completely turning around and blocking the highway.

JULY 19: FORMER professional rugby league player Daine Laurie was being held at the Grafton Correctional Centre on serious charges, including wounding with intent to murder. Laurie, 32, did not enter a plea when he faced Coffs Harbour Local Court for the first time the previous week, over three charges which stemmed from two alleged shootings on the Mid North Coast last year.

JULY 20: THE case for an ambulance station in the isolated coastal town of Iluka was guaranteed a place in Parliamentary discussion, thanks to more than 11,500 people who lent their signatures to a petition.

Started by residents John and Ann McLean in September last year following a health scare, the petition gathered enormous support from residents and holidaymakers alike.

JULY 21: GRAFTON High School Year 9 students Lily Robertson and Georgia Watts have turned a school project into a petition that could affect the development of the Grafton riverfront.

This year, the pair in one of the school's Gold classes for high-achieving students, started a project looking at the use of the river in Grafton as their project for Inquiry Based Learning.

"When we started at the beginning of the year we discovered the council had developed a Masterplan for the river," Lily said.

"What surprised us the most was it seemed like nothing had been done about it."

 

 

Leah Stevenson of Lasting Impressions Bridal Wear with a package she is about to send to a bridal shop in Canberra after the collapse of bridal manufacturer Alfred Angelo.
Leah Stevenson of Lasting Impressions Bridal Wear with a package she is about to send to a bridal shop in Canberra after the collapse of bridal manufacturer Alfred Angelo. Adam Hourigan

JULY 22: THE new general manager of the Clarence Valley Council has been announced, and it's a familiar face. From Monday, acting general manager and former director of corporate Ashley Lindsay can ditch the word "acting" as he takes on the top role permanently.

"I'm very excited by the challenge and a little bit numb, too," Mr Lindsay said soon after the announcement.

"We've achieved a lot in the four months I've been acting in the role and we have a four-year plan in place, so I'm pleased the council's got the confidence in me to deliver on it - that's what this role's all about."

JULY 24: A FREAK tractor accident on a farm at Pillar Valley left a man in hospital with a suspected compound leg fracture. About 9.20am on Saturday morning, emergency services including the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter raced out to attend reports of a tractor roll-over on a property east of Grafton.

Police said it appeared an older male, believed to be the patient's father, was slashing grass on a tractor with a mowing extension, when a piece of concrete or rock flicked up and impacted heavily with the leg of an 18-year-old man, who was walking behind the machine.

 

 

(clockwise from top left) A truck flipped when its trailer left the road near Koolkhan on the Summerland Way, The Doug Anthony All Stars at the Saraton, Clarence Valley Conservatorium singing workshop, Lauretta Lewis was named Lady of the July Carnival, Leah Stevenson after the collapse of bridal manufacturer Alfred Angelo, Bree Dahl with her new baby Ivy in front of the historic Oddfellows Hall she purchased, Too much good stuff to miss out in the books for students at Grafton library, Lunch is served at the barrier luncheon.
(clockwise from top left) A truck flipped when its trailer left the road near Koolkhan on the Summerland Way, The Doug Anthony All Stars at the Saraton, Clarence Valley Conservatorium singing workshop, Lauretta Lewis was named Lady of the July Carnival, Leah Stevenson after the collapse of bridal manufacturer Alfred Angelo, Bree Dahl with her new baby Ivy in front of the historic Oddfellows Hall she purchased, Too much good stuff to miss out in the books for students at Grafton library, Lunch is served at the barrier luncheon. Adam Hourigan

JULY 25: GLENREAGH residents are battling with Australian railways bureaucracy to retain the historic town's railway station, without support from a group of local enthusiasts.

The future of the station is up in the air as the Australian Rail Track Corporation has revealed it would not renew the Glenreagh Mountain Railway lease on the property when it ends on July 31. But residents decided to fight back and have set up a change.org online petition which had attracted more than 600 signatures by last week.

JULY 26: A FORMER defrocked Deacon of Grafton says the Anglican Church appears to have learned little from the traumas of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Former Queensland Education Minister and Grafton City councillor Pat Comben has been returned to Holy Orders, despite an admission of guilt to the offences that saw him defrocked as the Deacon of Grafton in July 2015.

JULY 28: ALL across Australia people have spent this month avoiding alcohol, but Clarence Valley residents can say they've been part of Dry July without even trying.

Both Grafton and Yamba have seen the driest July in a decade, since 2007 when Grafton recorded just 1.6mm of rain over 31 days.

 

 

No Caption
No Caption Adam Hourigan Photography

At this stage of the month, Grafton had recorded a drizzly 3.8mm while Yamba had been on the receiving end of 23mm of rain, a number that is still well shy of its 100.8mm average.

JULY 29: FINDING a 20,000sqm site above the Clarence River's one-in-100-year flood reach is the only delay in starting development of a $35million, 144-bed residential aged care facility in Grafton.

Yesterday the CEO of Signature Care, Graeme Croft, and the company's chief financial officer, Stephen Pollock, met with Clarence Valley Council to continue their search for a suitable site.

JULY 31: THE Federal Government will spend $225,000 on a bid to combat drug and alcohol use by Clarence Valley young people before it becomes ingrained in their lives, with the Member for Page Kevin Hogan launching a new program designed to work with young people in need of rehabilitation from drugs such as ice and alcohol.

The program was developed by independent North Coast drug and alcohol rehabilitation provider The Buttery and the North Coast Primary Health Network.